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The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.

Ali S. Razai is a litigation partner in Knobbe Martens’ Orange County office. Mr. Razai has a broad intellectual property litigation practice, having handled matters involving utility patents, design patents, trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, false advertising, unfair competition, and breach of contract. Mr. Razai has handled matters in district court cases throughout the country, arbitrations, and inter partes review proceedings before the Patent & Trademark Office.

He has worked on a diverse range of matters involving biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, mechanical devices, medical devices, and consumer products. Mr. Razai has handled matters for a diverse array of clients, including lululemon, The HydraFacial Company, Oakley, Knoll, Holly Hunt, simplehuman, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, BlenderBottle, Delicato Vineyards, 5.11, Z-Medica, Spectrum Solutions, Kimberly-Clark, and SunPower.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Razai was an academic researcher at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he engineered therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against the botulinum toxin, which causes botulism. Mr. Razai is an inventor on several patents stemming from his research.

In 2021, Mr. Razai was recognized by The Legal 500 for Patent Litigation. In 2020 and 2021, Mr. Razai was recognized by the World Trademark Review (WTR) 1000 as a “Leading Trademark Lawyer.”

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

In my practice, I develop strategies to either protect clients’ intellectual property rights or defend their commercial activities against allegations of infringement. Once I develop a strategy, I then use a team-based approach to implement the strategy to resolve the dispute, either through settlement or a judicial resolution.

What types of clients do you represent? 

I represent a wide array of clients in various sectors. I have clients in fields including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, mechanical devices, and consumer products. I’ve represented lululemon, The HydraFacial Company, Oakley, Knoll, Holly Hunt, simplehuman, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, BlenderBottle, Delicato Vineyards, 5.11, Z-Medica, Spectrum Solutions, Kimberly-Clark, SunPower, and many others.

What types of cases/deals do you work on? 

I have a very robust litigation practice and have been involved in over 150 federal matters, arbitrations, and IPR proceedings. My representative matters have involved utility patents, design patents, trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, false advertising, unfair competition, and breach of contract.

How did you choose this practice area?

While still an academic researcher at UCSF, I was very intrigued by the law but still passionate about science and technology. Seeing intellectual property as an intersection of the two disciplines, I decided to go to law school. Starting as a first-year associate at Knobbe Martens, I mainly practiced patent prosecution. After getting the opportunity to work on a litigation matter early in my career, I quickly realized that the team-based approach in litigation was a much better fit for my personality. Although I practiced both patent prosecution and litigation for the first six years of my practice, I am now a full time IP litigation attorney. 

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Although there is no typical day, on any given day I could be in meetings with litigation teams, on calls with clients, reviewing and revising briefs, appearing in court, taking or defending depositions, or travelling.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

I think one of the most important skills to develop as an attorney is the ability to write clearly. As a litigator, I also rely heavily on my knowledge of civil procedure and evidence. 

What do you like best about your practice area?

I really enjoy the team-based approach to litigation. The ability to exchange and discuss diverse points of view on a single issue is stimulating and leads to better work product.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

As Knobbe Martens is an intellectual property firm, all of our litigators are intellectual properly litigators. This creates a deep pool of experience from which the firm draws on in litigating cases. With over 100 attorneys that practice in this niche area of law, there aren’t many issues, courts, judges, or opposing counsel that our attorneys have not faced.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

A junior lawyer is instrumental to our litigation practice. The junior lawyer reviews the majority of the documents from both sides and is thus most knowledgeable about the evidence in the case. The junior lawyer also researches various legal issues that may arise in the case, which results in a deeper understanding of how the facts support the legal positions in the case. The junior lawyer is involved in all aspects of discovery, from serving and responding to written discovery, to gathering and reviewing documents, to preparing our teams to take/defend depositions, and even defending/taking deposition themselves. The junior lawyer is involved in almost all interactions with the opposing legal team and is exposed very early in their career to the adversarial nature of litigation. The junior lawyer also sits in on most team meetings and is involved in the creation and implementation of strategy.

What kinds of experience can summer associates gain at this practice area at your firm?

Summer associates are given projects in all aspects of litigation. The firm tries to funnel diverse projects to summer associates, without bogging down their experience with document review or any other long-term assignments. This gives summer associates first-hand experience to determine whether the practice is the right fit for them.